Zodiacal Light and Venus, February 13, 2009. This may look like a photograph of the fading twilight, but it was taken more than one hundred minutes after sunset, long after the dusk had left the sky. The pale glow in the middle of the photo, stretching down to the horizon is zodiacal light. It is sunlight reflecting off of interplanetary dust particles located along Earth's orbital plane. This subtle glow of light is best seen in the spring and autumn of the year, on moonless nights at a location with no light pollution. The bright object in the middle of the photograph is the planet Venus, shining at magnitude -4.6.
This photograph was featured as a SkyNews Magazine Photo of the Week, and as an Astronomy Magazine Picture of the Day.
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